Britain Goes All in on EVs With New Road to Zero Plan

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【Summary】Britain is taking its largest step towards making electric vehicles more mainstream, as the country announced a large and innovative plan called Road to Zero that will put the UK at the forefront for the adoption of electric vehicles.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Jul 16, 2018 8:30 AM PT
Britain Goes All in on EVs With New Road to Zero Plan

In the past few years, Britain has been taking large steps towards making electric vehicles more popular in the country. The latest action by the UK government, though, is its largest and most inclusive. 

In a lengthy report titled "Road to Zero," Britain's government has laid out its lengthy plan to see at least 50 percent of new vehicles on the country's roads to be ultra low emission cars by 2030. The strategy is to make the UK the most attractive place to own and build an electric car. It will also help Britain clean its air and create a better environment. 

Britain Looks To Get Ahead On EVs

As Britain laid out before in its "Air Quality Plan," the country wants to end the sale of gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles by 2040. The Road to Zero Strategy looks to help the UK reach its lofty goals by working with industry, academia, business, consumer groups, environmental groups, administrations, and international partners. 

"The coming decades are going to be transformative for our motor industry, our national infrastructure and the way we travel," said Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport. "We expect to see more change in the transport sector over the next 10 years than we have in the previous century." 

MPG Electric Vehicle.jpg

The new plan outlines a number of measures that Britain will follow to meet its goals, including: 

  • Requiring charge points to be installed in new homes across the country and adding charge points to new lampposts

  • Accelerating the roll-out of charging infrastructure by providing the necessary funds to companies that develop charge points thanks to the launch of a $528 million Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund

  • Developing a $52.8 million program that will focus on researching low cost wireless and on-street charging tech

  • Providing EV owners with $660 to help put a charger in their home, as well as increase the value of grants that are available to workplaces, so they can increase the number of chargers

  • Extending the Plug-in Car and Van Grants to at least October 2018 and retaining the grants in some form until 2020

  • Launching an Electric Vehicle Energy Taskforce to combine members from the energy and automotive industries to adequately plan for the increase in demand for EV infrastructure

While strides in electric-vehicle technology has made battery-powered machines better than ever thanks to usable ranges and shorter charge times, finding a charger is still one of the major drawbacks to EV ownership. Surging gas prices and the increasing rate of air pollution has Britain thinking about adopting electric cars on a mass level.  


"The prize is not just a cleaner and healthier environment but a U.K. economy fit for the future and the chance to win a substantial slice of a market estimated to be worth up to 7.6 trillion pounds by 2050," said Grayling at a speech to mark the announcement of the government's Road to Zero strategy.  

What Else Has Britain Done?

Britain has been busy the past few years, as the country attempts to make electric vehicles more popular to meet stricter European clean-air standards. Back in 2016, the country announced a new set of incentives that were aimed at making electric cars more attractive to help Britain tackle air pollution. The incentives included giving electric car owners priority at traffic lights, access to one-way streets, and discounted parking rates. 

A year later, in 2017, the British government introduced a new bill that was aimed squarely at improving EV charging stations across the country. That bill was followed up by the release of the UK's highest-powered electric car chargers to make charging an electric car easier. The installation of the country's first 150-kW electric vehicle rapid chargers was announced to come out sometime in the first half of 2018. Britain's current network of charging stations at rated at 50 kW. 

Jaguar I-Pace CHarging.jpg

Britain's plans seem to be working, as the popularity of electrified vehicles has soared in the country. Sales for plug-in hybrids rose 34.8 percent last year, with electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids accounting for 4.7 percent of new vehicle sales. 

While the UK's push towards electric vehicles may seem odd compared to the United State's approach to continue selling thirsty pickup trucks and large SUVs, it's important to note that the country has much stricter emission and fuel regulations. Not to mention the price of gasoline is much higher in the country. According to Global Petrol Prices, a gallon of gas cost roughly $6.42 in the UK on average. For us in America, the average price of gasoline is currently at $2.87 per gallon claims AAA. 

Besides helping drivers in Britain move towards cleaner, more efficient vehicles, the Road to Zero Strategy will also help the UK become a powerhouse for electric cars. With the country's mass adoption of EVs, automaker could chose the island as a hub for companies developing electric powertrains. 

At the end of 2016, Jaguar Land Rover announced that it would be building its electric vehicles in Great Britain. With the recent announcement, we wouldn't be surprised to see other automakers switch gears to move its facilities to the island. 

"The Road to Zero Strategy sets out a clear path for Britain to be a world leader in the zero emission revolution – ensuring that the UK has cleaner air, a better environment and a stronger economy."

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